California considers a new tax for sending text messages

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From Fox News: California state regulators have been working on a plan to charge mobile phone users a text messaging fee intended to fund programs that make phone service accessible to the low-income residents, reports said Tuesday.

The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal next month, but critics have already come out against the scheme, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

“It’s a dumb idea,” Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council business group, told the paper. “This is how conversations take place in this day and age, and it’s almost like saying there should be a tax on the conversations we have.”

While the amount consumers would be expected to pay remained unclear, some business groups are saying the new charges could cost wireless users more than $44 million a year, FOX11 Los Angeles reported.

Charges may also be applied retroactively to messages sent in the past five years, which has raised questions concerning the proposal’s legality, Rufus Jeffress, vice president of the Bay Area Council, told the San Francisco Bay Area’s KNTV-TV. The “alarming precedent” could chalk up to a bill of more than $220 million for consumers, the Mercury News reported.

The wireless industry argues that the fees would put carriers at a disadvantage since competing messaging services like Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp would not be charged the new fees, FOX11 reported.

Those against the proposal said that wireless customers already pay into the state’s Public Purpose Programs, which they call “healthy and well-funded” with nearly $1 billion in its budget, the Mercury News reported. But state regulators disagree, saying the budget has increased more than $300 million over six years, KNTV reported.

Residents lamented the potential tax, calling it “dumb” and “unfair.”

“To have them charge us something else is just dumb,” a Bay Area resident told KNTV. “I think it’s very unfair, especially for the people that can barely pay for their cell phone plan already.”


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10 responses to “California considers a new tax for sending text messages

  1. This would clearly be against the Tenth Amendment and will struck down as it should be in a higher distric Court

  2. Pingback: California considers a new tax for sending text messages - Free World Economic Report

  3. Wunderman is right: This tax is unfair. Jim Campbell above is also right in that it would violate the 10th Amendment. It would also violate the 4th Amendment: After all, if one’s text messages are sent or received, they could also be read.
    This proposed tax is also regressive, just as a sales tax is regressive: Poor people spend more of a percentage of their disposable income to survive, and a sales or text message tax would also take more of a percentage of that disposable income—something rich people don’t have to worry about (at least as much).
    There is also the matter of collecting the tax. Years ago, New York City, under then-Mayor Lindsay, instituted a hot-dog tax—a sales tax on hot dogs and vendor foods. The vendors, distributors and the public detested this tax. And later it was discovered that the City had problems collecting the tax! (It was finally repealed after more than two years of controversy).

    This bill also taxes TWICE: Cell phone bills are already laden with a long “rap sheet” of federal, state and local taxes as it is!

    Once again, politicians prove just how behind the 8-ball they are. This IS NOT representative government; It is politicians pleasing their funders who have the power to finance their campaigns, ultimately!

  4. The state of California seems to be just like my local newspaper in that they remind me of Will Rogers.
    They never met a tax increase they didn’t like.
    Here is a meme to brighten your day.

    • That was funny,and the replies were funny too.
      I too was concerned with the further trampling of our rights in order just to ENFORCE a law like this. No,NO-This CAN’T be allowed to happen!
      Ironic indeed that they work SO HARD to find MORE ways to TAX everyone rather than simply looking for ways to CUT THEIR SPENDING. Maybe WE should be finding ways to take THEIR money from THEM.

      • Pardon me truck, but didn’t you mean “Maybe WE should be finding ways to take OUR money away from THEM?” “They” don’t HAVE ANY MONEY that wasn’t forfeited to them by WE the PEOPLE through agreed-upon (elections have consequences) taxation of any and every kind. No government generates money through industry or through product or anything that, in our system, is generative or regenerative . All governments, after paying for their own salaries and infrastructure, the common defense, etc….function solely thereafter as an income-redistributing vehicle.

  5. Why not just tax citizens to pay for everyone who isn’t? That’s what California’s actually doing.

  6. “To have them charge us something else is just dumb,” a Bay Area resident told KNTV. “I think it’s very unfair, especially for the people that can barely pay for their cell phone plan already.”

    I really hope they didn’t vote Democrat in the last election, if they did, they have no one to blame but themselves.

  7. Kalifornia would tax people by the turd if they thought they could get away with it.

  8. “OK you cows! Get back in the herd and bellow for Jerry. Hail Jerry”. “We need more Messican voters and you’re gonna pay for it!”


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